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Why Is My Vertuo Nespresso Blinking Red? Troubleshooting Steps

vertuo plus nespresso blinking red light
Nespresso Vertuo Plus red light

Many Vertuo Nespresso coffee and espresso makers have built in color coded light alerts to let you know when something is wrong with your machine. Different Nespresso red light pattern have different meanings. This post explains what every Nespresso blinking red light error means. I will help you learn how to fix your machine so you can enjoy your favorite cup of coffee again.

Which Nespresso Models Have A Red Light?

Among the Nespresso Vertuoline models, the Vertuo Plus and Vertuo Plus Deluxe will display a red light error. The same troubleshooting steps will apply to your model whether it is made by De’Longhi or Breville (flat or round top).

If you have a Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo and Evoluo models, the light you are seeing is technically orange according to the Nespresso user manual. However, many people perceive it as red. You can see my dedicated post on the orange light errors, or just reference the back half of this article where I have also included solutions for these reddish-orange errors.

which nespresso vertuo model do i have
Which Nespresso Vertuo Model Do I Have

Are you seeing a Nespresso red light on a different model not pictured above? Original Nespresso machines are not shown here. That’s because very few Original Nespresso models use a red light alert. If you have a Pixie or an Essenza Plus, you can see my related post on what how to fix a red light error for those models.

What Do Vertuo Plus Nespresso Blinking Red Light Error Codes Mean?

There are 8 different red light error codes that a Nespresso Vertuo Plus and Vertuo Plus Deluxe machine will display:

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Red Light ErrorMeaning
Regularly blinks red once per secondError
Blinks red two times then steady greenEmpty water tank or missing capsule
Blinks red twice then steady orangeError in special function
Blinks red two times then blinks orangeError while special function running
Blinks red three times every 2 seconds with steady red in betweenHead in unknown position
Steady red lightDevice error
Pulsing red light (fading OFF, then ON)Cooling down after overheating
Steady left red and right green lightDescale
Vertuo Plus Nespresso Red Light Meaning

How To Fix All Vertuo Plus Nespresso Flashing Red Light Errors

Keep reading to see the steps to troubleshoot the Vertuo Plus machine blinking red light alerts. You may also read the user manual for your machine: Breville models (pages 24-29) or De’Longhi models (pages 24-29).

Red Light Flashing Continuously

Is the red light continuously flashing? Has the head has stopped moving? If so, then you need to remove any obstacles, empty the coffee pod container, and then open or close the head depending on the position it is in.

Blinking Red Light Two Times Then Steady Green

Either your water tank is empty or a capsule is missing from the head. Remove and refill the water tank. Open the head to eject any used capsule and insert a new coffee pod. Close the head and then push the button to start. If this doesn’t work, there may be an airlock that is blocking the water flow. The “baster method” is a popular way to clear an airlock with the VertuoPlus. Follow these steps:

  • Remove the water reservoir. Inspect the base where you place the tank to make sure there isn’t any debris that is interfering with the tank attaching securely to the machine. If there is, clean it and try again.
  • Fill the water tank. Hold it over a sink and press the valve button at the bottom. If water releases, you can be sure there is no issue with your tank. If not, try clearing anything that may be blocking the valve.
  • Use a baster, eye dropper or teaspoon to add a small amount of water to the indent in the base where the water tank valve would usually connect.
  • Leave the tank off of the machine. Start the pump and then stop it right away. See if the machine sucked in those few drops of water.
  • If it did, reattach the tank to the machine and start the pump. Press the button to start brewing. Hopefully you see water flowing through the machine now.

Flashing Red Light Twice Then Steady Orange

A red light flashing twice followed by a steady orange light means the special functions menu has been enabled. This happens when you press and hold both the lever and the button at the same time for 3 seconds. Choose the special function you want (reseting, descaling, or emptying) by pushing the lever down a certain number of times:

  • Descale: Push lever down twice
  • Empty: Push lever down twice
  • Reset: Push lever down three times

If you want to exit the special functions menu, don’t touch your machine for two minutes. It will then exit the menu by itself. If you don’t want to wait you can also just press the lever and the button together for three seconds.

Blinking Red Light Two Times Then Blinking Orange

You may see this alert when a descale or reset special function is trying to run but there is a used pod in the head. You should open the head and eject the capsule. Press the button to restart the function. If you are emptying the system, this alert is telling you to just remove the water tank. Once you have done that, press the button to restart the function.

Blinking Then Steady Red Light

Examine the head position if your machine won’t start and the red light blinks 3 times before turning steady. Press the lever up then wait until the head stops moving. If you see any obstacle, remove it. Otherwise, just empty the capsule container and then press the lever down to close the head.

Steady Red Light

If you see a steady red while your Vertuo Plus is not running, it needs to cool down. Turn it off, unplug it and wait at least 15 minutes for it to cool. Plug the cord back into the wall. Press the lever down to turn it on. When it has cooled down, it will turn a steady green. If the steady light remains, you should contact support. The toll free number is 1-800-562-1465.

Pulsing Red Light

A pulsing red means that your Vertuo Plus is cooling down after overheating. Be patient. Once the cool down is done, it will turn a steady green.

Red And Green Light

vertuo plus nespresso red light green light means descale
vertuo plus nespresso red light green light means descale

If your Vertuo Plus has a light that is red and green, you need to descale. This light comes on my machine about every 3 months. Descaling will remove mineral buildup that may interfere with water flow through your coffee maker. You will need to buy a Nespresso descaler solution kit.

What Does Nespresso Flashing Red Light Mean? (Next, Pop, Vertuo, Evoluo)

vertuo next Nespresso blinking red light
Nespresso Vertuo Next Blinking Red Light

There are 7 Nespresso red light error codes for the Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo and Evoluo coffee makers. The pattern of the Nespresso blinking red light will tell you what kind of troubleshooting is needed.

Nespresso Next, Pop, Vertuo, Evoluo Red Light ErrorMeaning
Blinks red two times per secondCleaning needed
Flashes red three times per secondDescaling or Emptying needed
Pulses red (fades OFF, then ON)Cooling down after overheating
Blinks red twice for 1 second, then long OFFMachine error
On for 1.5 seconds, OFF for 0.5 secondsWater tank empty
Blinks red 5 times in 10 secondsReset to factory settings
Blinks red then white for 3 times, then steady lightDescaling needed urgently
A Guide To Nespresso Red Blinking Lights (Next, Pop, Evoluo, Vertuo)

How To Fix Every Nespresso Blinking Red Light Error (Next, Pop, Vertuo, Evoluo)

Red Light Blinks Twice Per Second

If your Nespresso blinks red twice, you need to clean it. It is normal for the water that comes out during the cleaning cycle to have a brownish color to it.

  1. Open the head to eject any used capsules. Take a paper towel, dampen it with hot water, and gently run it around the piece that spins on the under side of the open head. Also gently wipe the area around where the coffee capsules sit.
  2. Empty and rinse the water tank and then fill it with fresh water.
  3. Rinse the cup support and put a 14 fl oz or larger mug under the coffee spout.
  4. Empty the capsule container. Return it after you have rinsed with cold water.
  5. Close the head and put it in the lock position by turning left.
  6. Start the cleaning cycle by pushing the button 3 times within 2 seconds. It will start flashing and within 2 minutes, water will begin to come out. This will go for about 5 minutes as it pumps through 3 cycles of water.
  7. If it keeps blinking red after this, try holding the button down for at least 7 seconds.
The water the comes out during a cleaning cycle will look brown
The water the comes out during a cleaning cycle will look brown

Red Light Blinks Three Times Per Second

If your Nespresso Vertuo is blinking red 3 times, you need to descale your machine. Descaling mode will remove mineral buildup from the water used to brew your coffee that is blocking water flow. Note you will need to buy a special cleaning solution. I personally prefer to use the one made by Nespresso.

nespresso descaling solution
nespresso descaling solution


  1. Empty the capsule container. Remove the drip tray and empty it.
  2. Add the solution and clean water to the tank, following the instructions on your solution.
  3. Close and lock the machine to turn it on. Allow it to heat up. When the light stops flashing, it has finished heating up.
  4. Open the head and empty any used capsule. Close it and leave the lever in unlocked position towards the front.

Start Descaling

  1. Press and hold the button for at least 7 seconds to enter descaling mode. The button will blink rapidly when it is ready. You then have 45 seconds to start the next steps in the descaling process.
  2. Turn the lever left towards the lock symbol, then unlock by turning right. Hold the button in the unlocked position for at least 7 seconds.
  3. Place a container that is at least 34 fl oz under the coffee outlet.
  4. To start descaling, turn the lever left to lock the head. Push the button. It will stop when the first phase is done.

Run The Rinse Cycle

  1. Empty and rinse the water tank, drip tray and cup support.
  2. Fill the water tank with fresh water. Push the button to rinse.
  3. When the light stops flashing and becomes steady, the process is done.
  4. Let it sit and dry for at least 10 minutes.
How To Descale Nespresso Vertuo Next

Alternating Red And White Blinking Light Three Times Then Steady

Once you get this alert, you will only be able to use your brewer a few times before descaling is needed. You will have to buy a cleaning kit. Then follow the steps in the section above.

Pulsing Red Light

A pulsing red light means that your Nespresso needs to cool down. This can happen after a lot of use. Push the button for 3 seconds to turn it off, then push it again to turn on. Wait 20-60 minutes for it to cool down. If it still pulses after this, then hold the button down for at least 7 seconds to see if it stops.

Red Light Blinking Rapidly Twice, Followed By Long Pause

There could be three different times when you could be flashing in this way: during coffee prep, during descaling, emptying or cleaning or during programming volume.

If this happens while you are trying to make a drink, make sure that a new capsule with no damage has been inserted correctly. Next, check that the head is locked. If the light continues, try inserting a new coffee pod, lock and press the button.

During descaling or cleaning, make sure there is no capsule in the coffee maker and that it is locked. Press and hold the button for 3 seconds to turn the unit off. Then press it again to turn it on. If the light is still there, unplug it from the wall. Wait 10 seconds before plugging it in and then turn it on.

During programming the water volume for your drink, just make sure that the pod is placed correctly.

If your Nespresso won’t stop blinking, you should call support. The toll free number is 1-800-562-1465.

Red Light That Is On For 1.5 Seconds, Off For 0.5 Seconds

This means your water tank is empty or low. Fill the water reservoir with clean water and push the button to start.

Red Light Blinks 5 Times In 10 Seconds

You need to do a factory reset. Open the head and eject the capsule. Close the head and leave it in the unlocked position. Push the button 5 times within 3 seconds. It will blink slowly 5 times to confirm that the reset is done.

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